'Diablo III' Goes Retro With Necromancer, Old-School Demake
Action RPG Diablo celebrated its 20th anniversary at Blizzcon, and Blizzard came out of left field with its party plans: It's recreating all 16 levels of the 1996 original as a seasonal in-game event inside Diablo III. The Darkening of Tristram – a reference to the beleaguered village that the first Diablo is set in – will debut in an upcoming patch, and will return annually as an in-game event to Diablo III. Blizzard is introducing graphical filters aimed to simulate old-school displays, scoring the event with tinny, lo-fi music, and using crude animations that mimic the 2D classic's limitations on movement. Not at all surprising due to pre-show leaks (though no less welcome) was the announcement of the fan-favorite Necromancer as a playable class. On hiatus since Diablo II, the grim warrior with a decidedly metal fashion sense will return to Sanctuary sometime in 2017, as part of a paid-for expansion whose specific details are still a little hazy. One thing's for sure: the approach definitely suggests a shift for Diablo III, away from retail expansions like 2014's Reaper of Souls and toward smaller, and hopefully more frequent content drops.